The Holidays Are Here! Is Your Wallet Ready?
Christmas is coming and so is Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the bills associated. Budgeting for the holidays isn’t easy especially when there are tons of hidden expenses that are always popping out of the wood work. However I created a short list of ways to help combat the cost:
Create a budget: Grab a pen and paper and make a list of expenses that you may run into: gifts, shipping, wrapping, decorations, parties… Realistically figure out what you can spend. There is a great worksheet to use here.
Make a list: Write down a list of everyone who you want to buy for and then narrow it down who you have to buy for. If you usually buy for extended family, friends, or co-workers suggest doing a gift exchange instead of buying each person their own gift.
Budget some more: Decide on how much you can/want to spend on each person on your list. Don’t spend no more than what you determined! Best way not to over spend is to put the exact amount of money allocated to each person in an envelope. When it is spent your are done shopping for that person.
Don’t do it alone: Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving diner and all of the parties in between can get overwhelming. Don’t try to do it alone. Are your friends hosting parties for the holidays? Try getting together with your friends and throwing one party for and split the budget or rotate holidays. One person takes Christmas, one New Years, someone else gets Halloween.
Potlucks: You don’t have to feed the neighborhood one your own. If the idea of feeding for Thanksgiving is breaking your wallet as for help. You bake the turkey and ask those who are coming to bring the sides.
Buy second-hand: So, you might not be able to find exactly what you want but if you can score some great deals and awesome gifts at second-hand shops.
Go cheap or go home: Decorations can get expensive. But there are many cheaper alternatives. Try second-hand shops or buy after or close to the holiday. Although the selection wont be huge the deals will be. Many times decorations will be discounted 70%, 80%, or 90% off. There are also tons of amazing websites out there dedicated to DIY decorations.
The forgotten bills: One of my favorite Christmas episodes was from Home Improvement when Tim gets in an all out battle with the neighbors over Christmas lights. In one scene he gives his family sunglasses to look out on their lawn. I’m a big fan of the lights, but when January rolls around I’m not very fond of the light bill. It’s one of those little “extras” that gets forgotten in the excitement of the holiday. In the interests of being environmentally and wallet friendly cut back on the how long your lights are on each day. Maybe only turn them on when friends visit or just an hour a day.
What tips or tricks do you have to help cut the cost of the holidays?